Dreaming of owning a house in 2020? Try these expert tips

The turkey has nearly been finished and the New Year is on the horizon. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your financial New Years resolution.

😉Rifling through the remnants of the Quality Street tin, you may already be planning to eat healthier or exercise more in 2020. But why not look beyond your waistline and start thinking about your financial health.

If your looking to finally get your foot on the housing ladder in 2020, or add an extension to your house, it’s time to start thinking about a savings game plan.

Clare Francis, director of savings and investments at Barclays has shared a few of her top tips to make your financial New Years resolution a reality.

Financial New Years resolution

1. Before you do anything else make a budget

‘Start by taking stock of what you’re currently spending and where,’ says Clare. ‘From here you can start to see areas where you can scale back and work out how much money you can put away each month.’

‘It can also help to have a goal in mind, saving can be made so much easier when you know you’re onestep closer to achieving something you care about,’ she adds.

2. Swap the high street for charity shops

‘Charity shops stock much more than clothing – think homeware, kitchen essentials and gifts,’ explains Clare. ‘A trip to a charity shop can often unearth a total gem and the fact that these items have lived a previous life, makes the purchase a little more special.’

‘It’s far more eco-conscious to buy preloved belongings and you’re also safe in the knowledge that you’re helping a good-cause,’ she adds. ‘It doesn’t take long to jazz up a bedside dresser that’s looking a little tired, oftentimes a lick of paint and a new handle can breathe new life into it.’

You will be amazed what you can achieve with a can of spray paint and a little ingenuity. Check out some of our budget DIY ideas such as how to get a Smeg-look fridge without the price tag for a little inspiration.

3. Cut household bills and shop around for the best tariffs

‘Taking the time to do a bit of life admin and check which tariffs and deals you’re on for your household bills can save a pretty penny,’ says Clare. ‘Doing your research to make sure you’re not being charged more than you should be will avoid needless spending.’

4. Shut windows and keep energy bills low

‘We’re all guilty of accidentally running up our energy bills every now and then,’ says Clare. ‘Whether it’s opening the window for some fresh air and forgetting about it or walking out of the front door in the morning with the heating on, we can sometimes end up paying more than we’d like to keep our homes warm.’

‘Getting into good habits and taking small actions like checking around the house and resetting timers on your heating and hot water can have a positive effect on bills in the cold winter months,’ she points out.

5. Fund a room revamp by selling old belongings

‘A new year means many of us want to do something new with our home. But revamping rooms doesn’t need to break our new year budget plans,’ says Clare. ‘If you want to refresh your colour scheme or switch your accessories, why not start by selling some of the vases, picture frames or pieces of furniture that will no longer complement the look, and using the money to buy new things.’

‘There’s no need to spend a fortune, particularly if you might want to change everything again in a few years – look online for offers and remember a lick of paint can totally transform the look of a room without costing a lot of money,’ she explains.

Will you be adopting any of these ideas to achieve your financial New Years resolution this year?

Original Source: https://www.idealhome.co.uk/news/barclays-new-years-resolution-240433

2020 forecast of 2% price rise as election gives window of certainty

The majority government result could pave the way for pent-up demand to be released in the spring market.

Rightmove forecasts a 2% rise in price of property coming to market in 2020 as the majority government gives home movers a window of certainty for an active spring moving season.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: “With much of the political uncertainty removed, we expect that the number of properties for sale will recover as more new sellers come to market, making up some of this year’s lost ground.

“However, property supply is still limited, with estate agents having the lowest proportion of properties available for sale in two years, and this will fuel modest gains in the national average asking price of property coming to market.

“The fundamentals remain sound with low interest rates, lenders competing to lend, high employment, and average wage growth outstripping house price growth and helping buyer affordability.”

Rightmove measures the prices of 95% of property coming to market, and while our prediction of a 2% price rise in 2020 is more than twice the current annual rate of 0.8%, it’s still a relatively marginal increase as it’s a price-sensitive market.

One year ago we forecast that there would on average be no upwards price movement, with 2019 seeing a subdued 0% price change given the uncertain outlook and stretched buyer affordability.

2019’s annual rise stands marginally above our forecast at 0.8%, with a stronger than anticipated end to the year. This month’s 0.9% fall is the smallest at this time of year since December 2006. Prices are being under-pinned and pushed upwards by demand outstripping supply.

Demand from buyers has remained almost level, with the number of sales agreed so far in 2019 down by just 3% on the same period in 2018 despite the political uncertainty. In contrast, the number of properties coming to market is down by 8%.

Shipside added: “First-time buyers are the drivers of the market. Too many are struggling to save the necessary deposits, and not all of them want to buy a new-build home through Help To Buy.

“More ways of getting more people onto the ladder would help to limit rising rents, increase liquidity and transaction numbers in the housing market, and make the dreams of their own roofs above their heads a reality for many more of the younger generation.”

Original Source: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/property-news/house-price-index-2020-forecast-price-rise-increase

Property transactions up 3.2%: HMRC

There were 102,050 residential property transactions in November, an annual rise of 1.9% and 3.2% higher than in October, according to the latest figures from HMRC.

Year-on-year, the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential teansactions is approximately 0.2% lower than in November 2018.

Tomer Aboody, director of MT Finance, said: “November turned out to be a pretty stable month for the housing market, with buyers looking to purchase before year end negotiating with those sellers keen to conclude business before the end of the year. This flurry in activity was aided and abetted by agents keen to hit their year-end targets.

“Since the general election, more positivity has been felt by buyers and sellers. It will be interesting to see how this translates into Q1 and Q2 of 2020, when those transactions complete. The Boris Johnson government should encourage trade and business, which will ultimately boost the property market and create activity across the economy. Fingers crossed for an exciting and busy period ahead before Brexit creates a potential drag on proceedings as negotiations continue.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented: “Expect the unexpected with the 2019 property market! Once again, activity has shown to be continuing its seemingly relentless upwards trend, irrespective of huge political and seasonal distractions.

“Of course, transaction numbers are always a much better indicator of market health than more volatile house prices and these are no exception. On the ground, buyers are taking advantage of improving affordability and more stable employment but we do not expect a significant increase in values. Prices have been underpinned for some time by a shortage of supply so any rise is likely to be more than outweighed by the usual increases in stock at this time of year.”

Original Source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/property-transactions-up-32-hmrc.html

How well do you know your neighbours?

According to the song everybody needs good ones, but a new study from Aviva has revealed that UK adults typically only know four of their neighbours by name.

Aviva found that one in 10 UK adults – roughly five million people – don’t know any of their neighbours by name. This increases to one in six people aged under 25 (17%) and one in eight aged 25-34 (13%).

The study of 2,057 UK adults was carried out as part of an Aviva home security awareness initiative. It found that three quarters (76%) of UK residents feel safer in their homes if they know their neighbours, while two thirds (67%) of people are happier as a result.

Aviva data shows a clear trend for home theft claims to increase during the autumn and winter months when daylight is limited. ONS figures3 reveal that three fifths of burglaries happen during the evening or at night, suggesting that some thieves may hide under the cover of darkness.

Susan Sansom, Head of Operations, Aviva UKGI claims, had this to say: “Along with practical precautions like locking doors and windows, knowing your neighbours and looking out for one another adds an extra layer of security. This is particularly useful at this time of year when thieves can take advantage of the longer nights.

One in 10 people surveyed said they’d encountered a home security incident in the last 12 months4, so we’d urge people to be vigilant and keep a look out for vulnerable individuals who may need extra support. Our study found that almost half of the population would like to get to know their neighbours better, so there really is no better time than the present.”

Everybody needs good neighbours…

However, while people may not know all of their neighbours, the research suggests UK residents are happy to help one another. Four out of five (84%) people already carry out tasks for people in their community, ranging from taking in parcels (70%), to keeping an eye on their homes when away (36%), to looking after pets (15%).

Residents in the West Midlands, the East of England and Wales are most likely to help out their neighbours.

When neighbours become good friends… (on social media)

Two fifths (38%) of UK adults would class at least one of their neighbours as a close friend. This is a marked increase compared to a similar Aviva study5 carried out in 2017, when just 24% of people said the same.

Friendships with neighbours on social media have also increased over the past two years. Two fifths (38%) of UK adults have online friendships with neighbours now, compared to 27% in 2017.

Knowing one’s neighbours even seems to affect people’s attitudes towards home security: three fifths (61%) of UK residents would be comfortable leaving their doors unlocked because they feel their neighbourhood is safe.

Susan adds: “It’s brilliant that many consider their neighbourhoods to be safe, but it’s important that people don’t put their homes and belongings at risk as a result. Thieves are opportunistic and it only takes a few seconds for them to dash into an unlocked home and grab someone’s belongings.

Neighbours and friends can play a vital role in keeping homes secure. If people are going away for the festive season, it’s useful to ask someone to keep a watch on the property to make sure there are no unwanted visitors. And by checking inside the home for anything untoward – such as a water leak – neighbours can help to prevent or reduce damage. So as well as boosting people’s moods, a sense of community spirit can actually help to protect people’s possessions too.”

Original Source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/ow-well-do-you-know-your-neighbours.html

Mortgage searches up 113% after election result

According to the latest data released by online mortgage broker and lender, Habito, the Conservatives’ landslide win on Friday may already be boosting consumers’ confidence when it comes to the housing market.

New research shows that online searches for getting a mortgage in the UK were up 113% this weekend compared to last weekend. Google searches for ‘mortgage calculator’, tool that helps people work out how much borrowing they need to buy a home, was also up a huge 225% over the same period.

Daniel Hegarty, CEO of online mortgage broker, Habito said: “The Conservatives’ resounding election victory seems to have already given many consumers the confidence to at least think about their home plans.

We’ve seen a marked jump in both Google searches and our own website traffic since the result of the election, across all buyer types; first-timers, next-time movers and buy-to-let landlords. With our mortgage brokers available online 9am-9pm Saturday and Sunday, it seemed that many would-be homebuyers buoyed by the result, used the down-time just before next weekend’s Christmas shopping rush, to speak to an expert about their home buying and financing situation.

When we asked in late November, more than a third of people (36%) said they felt less positively about their personal finances, compared with six months prior. Of course, we wait to see if this initial surge of interest is backed up with people feeling more positively about their personal finances as a whole and if this results in an increase in home-buying activity in early 2020, but the very early signs are positive.”

 3 top tips for looking for a mortgage:

1. Use a tool – like a mortgage calculator to see how much you could afford. Use one that takes into account any fees or taxes such as stamp duty, which can’t be put into your deposit, to get a more accurate figure.

2. Use a broker that’s ‘whole of market’ – they can look at all the mortgages out there – from 20,000 and get the best one for you and your circumstances

3. Don’t just look at the interest rate – lots of deals come with extras including cashback, free valuations or higher product fees, so watch out for suspiciously low rates and base your choice on ‘true cost’ with all the extra fees and incentives added in!


Original Source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/ortgage-searches-up-113-after-election-resu.html

Top tips for moving home during the festive season

Where there’s a will there’s a way. For many, the thought of attempting to move house over the Christmas period is enough to put you off your turkey. However, according to new data from reallymoving, 72,000 home moves are set to take place in England and Wales this December.

Despite a toxic combination of a General Election, Brexit uncertainty and the usual seasonal slowdown, 71,904 sales are expected to complete during December 2019 compared to 71,562 in December 2018. This indicates that transaction levels remain subdued but stable year on year.

With the average home move in 2019 costing £10,414, home movers will spend almost £750 million on moving home during the Christmas period.

Christmas can be a busy and stressful time of year without the added pressure of a home move, so reallymoving has compiled ten tips for moving during the festive season to help ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

1. Kill two birds with one stone and enclose a Change of Address card with your Christmas cards this year. Then set up a post redirection service with the Post Office.

2. Be prepared for bad weather. Have salt, grit and shovels on hand to clear roads and pathways if needed. Torches are a good idea too, as you’ll probably still be moving in after dark.

3. Make a detailed timeline. Make sure everyone in the chain, as well as estate agents and solicitors, know you want to complete before Christmas and be proactive early on by pinning down a completion date to aim for. There are no guarantees, but it helps if everyone is on the same page.

4. Book a removals firm early. Removals firms get booked up quickly as people rush to complete before the holidays, so get quotes, check reviews and pick a firm as early as possible. You may not be able to firm up arrangements until you’ve exchanged, but make sure you’re at the top of their Christmas list.

5. Set the Christmas decorations to one side. Begin packing early, working from the loft down, and remember to put the Christmas decorations to one side so you can find them easily once you’re in your new home.

6. Ask about holidays. Check with everyone in the chain and their solicitors whether they have any holiday booked over the festive season. If your solicitor will be on leave, ask who your contact will be during that period and what the implications might be for your timeline.

7. Stick to wrapping Christmas presents, rather than crockery. Asking a removals company to wrap and pack can save huge amounts of time and effort and often costs less than you think.

8. Consider using online retailers to send pre-wrapped items straight to their home, so you don’t have lots of gifts cluttering up your home which might get mislaid in the move.

9. Take your final meter readings on the day of your move and contact your service providers as soon as possible. You don’t want to be without power on the big day and you don’t want to be paying for your buyer’s Christmas electricity and gas supply either.

10. Think about financial security. As the name suggests, Friday Afternoon Fraud is more of a danger at the end of the week when hackers benefit from people rushing through transactions without checking where the money is going. This is even more likely during the busy Christmas period when there’s greater urgency to complete.

Rob Houghton, Reallymoving CEO, said: “The housing market is certainly subdued as we head into the festive season but bearing in mind a looming General Election, a failure to resolve Brexit and Christmas on top, the figures are remarkably reassuring. Those people who need to move are continuing to do so, mainly because borrowing remains cheap, unemployment is low and price falls can often be absorbed by those buying as well as selling. Conditions also continue to be favourable for first time buyers who currently account for 54% of transactions.

For those who are moving during December, it pays to get organised, book your removals early and do as much as possible in advance to ensure things go smoothly and you’re comfortably settled in your new home by Christmas Day.”

Original Source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/op-tips-for-moving-home-during-the-festive-season.html

Martin Lewis top tip for saving money on the dreaded winter heating bill

We love everything about Christmas, from the mince pies to carol singing. What we don’t love is the hefty bill that comes as a result of cranking up the heating to fend off the winter chill.

However, these Martin Lewis heating tips are just the ticket you need to help you save on the dreaded winter heating bill and leave more money for festive gatherings.

If you’ve ever wondered whether it is more cost-effective to leave the heating on low all day or to turn it on and off as needed, Martin Lewis has the answer.

Martin Lewis heating tips

It’s a debate we’ve all had with our other halfs, flatmates, Mums, Dads, even the Mother-in-Laws. One side holding fast to the belief that leaving the heating on all day is the cheapest way of heating the house. Versus, flicking the radiators on and off and cranking up the thermostat only when it’s needed.

However, Martin Lewis can finally put an end to the debate with his top tip for saving money on your heating over the winter. He advices putting your heating on a timer to help save money on your heating.

‘They say it’s better to only put the heating on when you need it,’ says Martin Lewis on ITV’s This Morning. ‘You pay to pump energy in as and when is needed, and to keep pumping it in constantly isn’t efficient.’

‘Your thermostat is designed to turn your heating on and off to keep your home at the temperature you set it,’ he insists. ‘So, in general, I’d stick with that.’

However, the Money Saving expert pointed out that if your home is prone to damp you might benefit from having the heating on low throughout the day.

‘There are some engineers though who argue that keeping the heating on low with all the radiators on and the boiler down can work as it reduces condensation,’ he explains.

‘When when the heating is turned off collects within the walls and can help conduct heat outside the home – meaning you lose heat more quickly and so will use more energy as a result,’ he adds. ‘So if your house is prone to that you may want to think about it.’

You heard the expert – work out how to set your heating timer or leave it on low if you are combating damp. Now all that’s left is what to spend the savings on…another round of mulled wine anyone?

Original Source: https://www.idealhome.co.uk/news/martin-lewis-heating-tips-239432

A quick look at what property types generate the best return?

According to the latest research from the National landlords Association, landlords might think that letting their property to a major international company or high-flying executive would generate top dollar, but they would be wrong.

The data, collected by the NLA, found that the average rental yield on property rented by companies or executives was just 4.9%—the lowest of any tenant type. The main reason for this was that the properties typically require significant upfront investment to match the high-spec expectations of the tenants.

The NLA, found that the tenants generating higher than the average rental yield of 5.6% included migrant workers (6.5%), students (5.9%) and retired people (5.8%).

These types of tenants are actually easier to find than executives, who accounted for just 2% of tenants. Migrant workers, students and retired people accounted for 7%, 14% and 11% of tenants respectively. The biggest tenant groups—families with children (52% of all tenants), young couples (48%) and young singles (43%)—offered rental yields that matched, or nearly matched, the overall average.

The NLA also found that the big detached house—the kind of favoured by richer tenants and families—was the least profitable type of property, generating an average rental yield of just 5.4%. By contrast, the house in multiple occupation (HMO) and the humble bungalow were the most profitable, generating an average rental yield of 6.5% and 6.2% respectively.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the National Landlords Association, said: “The private rented sector has grown because there is an alignment of interests between landlords and tenants. There is high demand for rented property from particular groups of people — migrant workers, students, and retirees — and these are precisely the people who offer landlords the best return on their investment. They are also the people who will bear the brunt of government policies which end up pushing landlords out of the market.”

Original Source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/what-property-types-generate-the-best-return.html

What are some of the biggest myths surrounding mortgages?

Dilpreet Bhagrath, Mortgage Expert at online mortgage broker Trussle, breaks down some of the most common mortgage myths.

Myth 1: You can’t get a mortgage if you have an overdraft

It’s possible to get a mortgage if you use an arranged overdraft. However, it’s important to remember that lenders will assess how you manage your overdraft and other financial commitments each month. Their main priority is to ensure that you’re not financially overstretched and can comfortably afford your monthly mortgage repayments.

If you’re actively using your bank’s overdraft, or paying one off, this will also be taken into account during the mortgage application. When lenders assess your monthly income and outgoings, any money used to pay off the overdraft will be accounted for in affordability assessments.

Just a reminder that, if you take out a personal loan, a car on finance or any new credit facility in the run-up to applying for a mortgage, this could impact how much you can borrow from the lender.

Myth 2: You can’t get a mortgage if you’re self-employed

Currently, there are 4.85 million self-employed people in the UK. It’s estimated this number will rise to 5.5 million by 2022. The mortgage industry hasn’t kept pace with this growing group, and many self-employed workers find themselves overlooked by lenders.

While it can seem like a trickier process, self-employed people can still successfully apply for a mortgage.

Make sure you’re prepared with at least two to three years of proof of income as this is the amount some lenders will require. Many people seek advice from an accountant when considering self-employment, but it’s also worth speaking to a mortgage broker about your current mortgage or future home ownership plans. This will ensure you’re aware how to structure your accounts for both tax purposes and securing a mortgage.

As always, it’s important to consider any personal and future circumstances when securing a mortgage and seek professional advice to ensure you’re aware of the options.

Myth 3: You can’t get a mortgage if you have bad credit

Many people will assume that if they have a poor credit rating, they won’t be able to get a mortgage. But that’s not always the case. Some credit issues carry less weight than others. For example, how much bad credit you have and how long it’s been since the incident occurred will all contribute to whether the lender approves your application.

Some high street lenders are beginning to take a more open-minded approach and will consider offering you a mortgage deal even if you’ve got bad credit. There are also specialist lenders and brokers out there who could help you on your home ownership journey.

It’s worth being aware that the mortgage deals available to those with bad credit sometimes have higher rates and fees and may require a larger deposit.

It’s important to speak to a mortgage broker to discuss the options available to you based on your own personal circumstances.

Myth 4: You must get a new mortgage if you move home

If you’re moving to a new home, you might be able to transport your mortgage with you. Simply ask your lender or broker about the process of ‘porting’ your mortgage arrangement.

During this process, the lender will need to value the new property to see if they’re happy to lend on it. If the new property is more expensive and you need to borrow more (known as a ‘top-up’), the lender will carry out affordability check to ensure that you can afford the higher repayments. Your lender will also take your income and other outgoings into consideration.

Remember that the ‘top-up’ will be based on the mortgage deals available from the lender at the time, not on the same interest rate as your current deal.

Myth 5: You can only get a mortgage from your existing bank

When the time comes to remortgage, staying with your current lender might feel like the easiest thing to do. Almost half of borrowers (41%) find the mortgage process stressful, so it’s no surprise that so many people shy away from the process when it comes to switching. However, this can cost you in the long run. Sticking with the same lender, or lapsing onto the Standard Variable Rate, collectively costs approximately two million homeowners almost £10 billion a year.

Give yourself three to six months before your deal ends to shop around, so that you find the best possible deal. Don’t worry if this seems daunting. Trussle has introduced a free mortgage monitoring service that will alert borrowers when a better deal comes onto the market. This continuously monitors your mortgage product and lets you know when you could save money by switching to another deal, so you’re never paying more than you should.

Original Source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/what-are-some-of-the-biggest-myths-surrounding-mortgages.html

How much does a British election affect house prices?

Next week the UK will wake up on the morning of Friday 13th and find out who holds the keys to No10 and the next move in the Brexit puzzle.

Amongst the various sectors and industries throughout the UK hoping that it is merely coincidence that we find this out on what is universally considered to to be an unlucky day, the property market is waiting with bated breath to see which way house prices might swing as a result.

Historical house price data suggests that during the months immediately either side of an election, price growth is modest at best, with growth following this appearing to be down to a number of factors. These include how long a Prime Minister has been in power, perhaps what their stance on the housing market is and the state of the housing supply as well as major political events near to the election.

The 1.08% growth in the month prior to Cameron’s second successful election in May 2015 (from £193,225 in April to £195,313 in May) was the highest month on month (MOM) pre-election growth rate since Harold Wilson’s second election in October 1974, when house prices grew on average by 2.64%.

One-month growth post-election is a similar story. In the month following Theresa May’s election in June 2017, house prices grew 1.3% on average – the highest one-month post-election growth rate since the 3.6% achieved in the month following Tony Blair’s second successful election in June 2001.

If we look at the growth rates over three months post-election, we begin to see prices, generally, continuing steady growth. However, it’s the price growth six months post-election that tells us the real story.

Following the previous two elections (this does not include when a new PM took post due to a resignation), we have seen the highest level of house price growth, post-election, for 20 years – since Blair was first elected in 1997.

Following Cameron’s successful second election in May 2015, house prices grew 4.56% over the following six months, from £195,313 to £204,223. Whilst May’s election in June 2017 saw slightly more modest growth than this, the UK still saw a 3.62% increase in house prices in the six months following, from £221,833 in election month, to £229,865. This is in comparison to the 1.07% growth over six months following the coalition government forming in May 2010 and the 1.52% and 2.45% growth over Blair’s second and third elections in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

So what does this mean for house prices following our next election?

Ultimately, we know that the housing market responds depending on the level of certainty an event brings. When there has been an incoming PM following a resignation, growth has stagnated in the following months – just 0.01% following May’s takeover from Cameron and post-referendum, and 0% when John Major took over from Thatcher in April 1990.

When that PM or a new one is officially elected, we see a boost to house prices again. Providing the next election brings certainty to and around the UK’s economy and of course, which direction Brexit is going to go and when, we could expect to see the pattern repeat. All the past performances point towards property prices continuing their upwards climb, after initial modest growth in the immediate aftermath of any election.

Andy Foote, director at SevenCapital commented: “What the figures over the past two elections have shown us is that, despite much speculation around whether the UK’s house prices are stagnating, the reality has been far more positive.

Should investors and home buyers be worried about the outcome of the election? If history is to be repeated, they should expect modest growth initially, but once the new PM is in place and their plans for the UK, the economy and, importantly Brexit are laid out, there’s no reason at the moment to not expect a positive rise over the following six to 12 months.”

Original source: https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/ow-much-does-a-british-election-affect-house-prices.html